Stars at Oilers, G35/07-08

This is Gary Sargent. He was a very good puck moving defender in the NHL before injuries ate up his career.

Sargent played in an American Junior League (Midwest Junior Hockey League) for the Fargo-Moorhead Sugar Kings and was drafted 48th overall in 1974 by Los Angeles. In 400 NHL games he scored over 200 points which is an excellent total for the era. He had two or three fine offensive years for both Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota North Stars but his career ended before age 30.

Back injuries are a bugger and you don’t need to be an NHL hockey player to know it. The list of back troubles for Sargent is long and troubling:

  • Missed part of 1979-80 season with slipped disc in back, an injury suffered in February 1980.
  • Missed part of 1980-81 season with lower back injury, suffered in December 1980.
  • Missed remainder of 1980-81 season after undergoing spinal fusion surgery at the Mayo Clinic on March 16, 1981.
  • Struggled to come back from surgery in 1981-82 and was forced to sit out many games with back pain.
  • Missed remainder of 1981-82 season with back spasms, suffered in January 1982.
  • Missed most of 1982-83 season with knee injury suffered in November 1982 and re-injured in March 1983.

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36 Responses to "Stars at Oilers, G35/07-08"

  1. Oilman says:

    Even though its at the Mayo clinic, spinal fusion surgery over 25 years ago must have been as scary as it sounds….I was mis-diagnosed with a slipped disc last year (thankfully it was just a pinched nerve), but the thought of spinal surgery had been planted in my head and I was scared shitless at the prospect of it.

  2. Dennis says:

    Speaking of injuries;) my neck’s been killing me again lately so I haven’t been posting as much as usual and I didn’t get to chime in on the SO win vs Van.

    So, a couple of things from Sat night’s game to think about heading into tonight:

    Cogs: Nice to see MacT mention him in the After Hours segment. 13 had been struggling bigtime but he was really noticeable on Sat night. Mac attributed it to being back at the pivot spot and maybe there’s something to it. I’ll either believe that or I’ll just say that he’d been cold long enough that he was due a good game.

    19-16-28: Even though 19′s played tough min in the past and I said that going forward I thought 28 could play tough min, I don’t like MacT running this as our tough min line. Yes, 16 did have at least two scoring chances on Sat night but didn’t everyone else feel uneasy everytime they went HTH with Nasdin? Nasdin, in particular, owned the second period and eventually tied the game. I think Mac’s being too cutesy here and should just go flat out PVP with 27/10/83 taking on the baddies.

    D corps: Given his past history, and the fact that I’ve never seen another Oilers dman get chased down so many times and stripped, I don’t think it’s sensible to keep leaning on Souray this much at EV. He’s tough and as someone else mentioned, he does have a really long reach but the guy’s flat out fucking slow and is a disaster waiting to happen. If I were seeing us carrying the play while he was, then I’d believe he’s improved. But mostly what I see is him trying to skate the puck out and guys reeling him like a wounded fish.

    When it comes to Souray as an Oiler, half of my fears are being realized: the Oilers are playing him like they’re paying him, instead of playing him like they would if they paid attention to stats.

    On the other hand, Joni Pitkanen has to be the most enjoyable new Oiler since we first saw Ales Hemsky. Effortless skater with a seemingly perpetually full gastank who wants to score all the time. This move where he drives wide and tries to deke the goalie is flat out nuts. I mean who even tries that stuff anymore?

  3. Black Dog says:

    Dennis – having been lucky enough to see Joni live last month, let me say (again) how impressive this guy is in person.

    He is a rover, sure, but he is the total package in terms of physical skills. I liked that trade. I’m starting to love it.

    With Torres out for a couple of weeks, maybe the season, Thoresen sounds like he can keep that spot for a while yet. One of the dailies (Sun?) had a nice little story on him – MacT knows what he has got there.

  4. Dennis says:

    Pat, I’m a Thor fan for sure, but given that Stoll can’t put the puck in the ocean, Thor’s GF abilites are certainly in doubt and Reasoner’s on the downswing, I just don’t like that matchup.

  5. godot10 says:

    //I think Mac’s being too cutesy here and should just go flat out PVP with 27/10/83 taking on the baddies.//

    Stoll has to learn to do something for his salary.

    And MacT has to be able to have options in the playoffs.

  6. ClaytonMagnet says:

    And MacT has to be able to have options in the playoffs.

    The wha?

  7. grease trap says:

    Hey LT,

    Love reading the comments after a game I missed. Do you think you could turn on the timestamp for each comment so laggers like me can get a read on when certain things are being discussed? Pre-game, 1st, 2nd, 3rd periods, post, etc. Hard to follow without knowing what time the comment was made.

    Just a thought.

  8. Bruce says:

    Dennis: too true about Souray. He scares the shit out of me every time he has possession of the puck. Even when there’s nobody around him he doesn’t seem to really have it under control. And your description of him being “flat out fucking slow” is word perfect. :)

    Still to come are the highlight-reel plays starring Sheldon as the human pylon. He had a number of these in Montreal, and I don’t think he has fixed his penchant for being caught flat-fucking-footed.

    OTOH, there is a degree of high reward that comes with that high risk, such as the dangerous pinch he pulled off in the dying minutes of a 0-0 game that set the stage for Horcoff’s ice breaker. Whether the plusses will outweight the minuses is the question, and I for one am dubious that they will. But this is a guy who will polarize opinions between those who see the good plays and those who zero in on the mistakes. Souray makes a ton of both.

  9. Vic Ferrari says:

    Dennis, I agree on Pitkanen, whether the other Flyers think he’s an asshole or not, he can play.

    A lot of these types of defensemen who are fun to watch give it all back the other way, with Pitkanen, at least so far as an Oiler, that doesn’t seem to be the case. And if he wasn’t so tall he’d look even faster, the guy can really skate, and looks like he has a purpose going forward.

    I looked at the numbers the other day, and MacTavish has been starting him in his own end a lot, even more than I’d thought. And he’s been turning possession around at a good rate by my eye. To me this really separates him from guys like Jovo, Preissing, Carle, Liles, etc … you can get offense from the guy even when you play him in a defensive role. He has value.

    Like SH, I hope they sign the guy to an extension early in the New Year, and failing that, opt to take him to arbs before Canada Day. This is a player that brings more than his counting numbers.

  10. grease trap says:

    Thanks, LT!

    Back to lurking and (hopefully) learning…

  11. KlingonHockey says:

    “This is a player that brings more than his counting numbers.”

    You’re going to have to quantify that for me. Show me some ESBMTHCN/60 or you’re just blowing hot air.

  12. danny says:

    Dennis, MacT might be trying to moderate the matchups for 83/10 to generate a bit more Oiler offense.

    Horcs only big year to date has been with Peca doing a share of the heavy lifting, Horcs wasn’t consistent last year offensively when he is the #1 shutdown guy game in and game out.

    I know sending a struggling Stoll and kids out against a dominant line is playing with fire, but I would reckon the intent is to give the team a chance to score as long as he can keep a level of faith in his checking line doing their job.

    Its too bad i didnt get my wishes in the offseason, signing Peca as a defensive pivot and platooning hard minutes with Horc, because Stolls struggle is putting MacT in a tight spot on most nights.

  13. Dennis says:

    Vic, I’m not a big fan of guys turning around their careers because of the old “change of scenery” move but this thing with Pitkanen had trouble written all over it for Philly.

    Granted, the returns are super early but guys like this are hard to come by and Pitkanen had two very good seasons with the Flyers so they knew damn well it had a chance of blowing up on them.

    Outside of the obvious, the thing I like about Pitkanen is that sometimes he’ll use his size to stop plays down low. If he starts putting both elements together, then we won’t have enough money to pay him.

    One word or caution here. The knock on him from Philly was he wasn’t exactly the most coachable and I can sorta understand why given how poor his english is. Some of us shook coachability off because the Oilers have had a lot of success with dmen and when I saw Pitkanen a few games last year, he looked like a fluid skater who could get back on D but didn’t always.

    So far so good though.

  14. PDO says:


    This is why we need to find Jari Kurri ;).

    I think this has the chance to be a statement game for the Oilers. I mean, I don’t think many would argue that their record is certainly better than the Oilers right now… it’s been painfully obvious most of the year, really. However, we’re nearly at the halfway point, and kids like Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert… even some of the younger veterans like Pitkanen and Hemsky, and of course the ever-less-flabby Penner, are starting to round into form. Is it probably too much to hope for this team to have a better second half than first half? And if they can find it in them to have a better second half, could we maybe be looking at the possibility of a half decent team?

    I mean, when we talked before the year started we said we needed a Bieksa. We got one, his name is Tom Gilbert, please and thankyou ;), and then we said we needed a RW… we haven’t found one yet, and the injury to Raffi certainly isn’t good news, but if he doesn’t need surgery we could possibly have him and Sasquatch back sometime in January, run with just 3 kids (Cogs-Brodziak-Gagner)… and maybe this is a team to talk about moving forward?

    I’m rambling now. Time to pick up some beer and enjoy the game. A win by two goals would make me believe in this team, just a little bit at least.

  15. Nelson88 says:

    whether pitkanen signs with the oilers and for how much is going to be interesting to watch develop.

    body language says a great deal and at the beginning of the year he looked like an outsider. a couple small things recently; (huddy giving him some tips in the last game) and a nice big smile after that goal (2 or 3 games ago) leads me to believe he is becoming more comfortable in his surroundings and with his teamates.

    i have to believe huddy is dream coach for young D-man. that and the support of a strong dressing room when you don’t have the pressure of being #1 and I think he might really like being in Edmonton.

    would trading for ruutu (tuomo) help at all…?

  16. honkey says:

    Watching 2 min with the Oilers defense and I realize this is gonna be a looong night :(

  17. honkey says:

    Oh yes!
    Wonderful goal by Penner, alone against 3 Stars and just power the way to the net and roofs it.

  18. Lowetide says:

    Nice goal by Penner. Power move. This isn’t your Dad’s Dallas Stars.

  19. jon says:

    It’s really interesting how things have turned around in Dallas. They’ve had strong goaltending for forever, but the image of the team as an airtight defensive unit has completely been changed to a slick passing offensive team.

    The thing that’s interesting about it is that I think Mike Ribeiro is a huge part of that turnaround. I’ve followed him this season a bit for fantasy hockey reasons, and he looks like a completely different player than when he was in Montreal. He’s stronger on the puck, cycles very well with Morrow, and he’s really using his vision to its fullest. It’s neat to see someone turn it around so dramatically. Then again, it could something else like late development or commitment to physical training.

  20. Black Dog says:

    Quickly dropping by – Dennis, agreed. My point was more this – as we know this team doesn’t have a lot of options up front to play the tough minutes.

    Even less with Torres out and Pisani babysitting.

    I like Thor in the lineup more then Stortini. And I think going forward he can play a role on this team.

    Having him in a shutdown role right now is a little much now though.

  21. godot10 says:

    Face it, with Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky, and Nilsson-Gagner-Pisani, everybody else better be able to check and shutdown people or they aren’t going to play.

    If Stoll is to have a future as an Oiler, considering Horcoff and Gagner, it has to be as a shutdown centre, and special teams specialist.

  22. jon says:

    Thor hasn’t been getting a steady shift in the second. He looked really gassed a few shifts in and was really floating on a couple of plays. A look at the TOI charts reveals he’s been stuck out for several 60second+ shifts, so that probably explains it.

    Speaking of long shifts, having the Smid pairing out with the Cogliano line was a gongshow more than once in the second period. Not a great matchup by the coaching staff.

  23. Dennis says:

    Well, Lain, no, these aren’t your older brother’s Stars but forgive me if I’m skittish considering we’ve lost games like this to the Stars for years.

    Sure, we’ve been taking some wins off them in Dallas since the spring of ’03 but the Stars have won five straight in Rexall and they won many more before that.

    And we know how many of them have been by one goal.

    Not sure how we win this game in reg unless we get it from the first line or the PP. There really hasn’t been a lot of juice from Fernie’s Kids and the 16 line hasn’t done much outside of when Thor shot way too early off the beauty feed from Stoll. Not to mention that the 8-13-51 have given up the GA and have been a waste of space all night.

    25 got lost on the first goal but nothing to complain about regarding that pairing otherwise. 24 made two brutal giveaways but at least Smid hasn’t been junk;) I think Souray’s played perhaps his quietest and steadiest game as an Oiler.

    Not really sure how to rate Roli. He was turning nothing into something for the Stars in the first period but then he really settled down in the 2nd and was great outside of that last huge rebound off the Modano slapper.

    Speaking of Modano, that’s what really worries me heading into the last 20. Usually as of late, it’s just the Ribero/Morrow tandem that we have to worry about but tonight Modano’s going so that gives us more lines to check.

    A couple of things that stand out to me about Dallas is that they can really be worked down low and they just hang on to the puck offensively and either look to move the goalie from side-to-side OR throw it at the net and hope for tips or rebounds.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Zubov has been amazing since the dawn of time.

    Fernando has some nice things.

  25. Dennis says:

    Some things are predictable. Things like a 12-89-51 line having a hard fucking time getting the puck out of their zone. That was a harrowing shift and a vicious reminder of why having three rookies on the same line isn’t a good idea.

    On a positive note, had Fernie showed on that SH break, the sphere might’ve shut down.

  26. Dennis says:

    I don’t like our chances in OT and I don’t like our chances in the SO either. We’re taking on the kings of the SO and everyone’s on to 89′s move.

  27. ClaytonMagnet says:

    some sketchy line changes in OT… and some equally sketchy puck handling by Souray.

  28. uni says:

    Had to end sometime, oh well.

  29. Dennis says:

    No reason to have Souray out there in OT. As I said before, he was pretty steady tonight but, still, let’s not push it.

    I’m looking forward to the day when I can cheer for a vet team again. Or, at the very least, a team where just about everyone has two or three years experience in the league.

  30. Bank Shot says:

    I think Horcoff’s shot has started to look a bit weaker lately.

    Maybe he’s running out of Mexican Jumping Sticks? ;P

  31. PDO says:

    Just a couple points…

    - The shift Horcoff had with 5:00 to go in the 2nd was EPIC. Stole a goal from Ott, recovered the puck, beat someone one on one, sprung Penner on a breakaway, busted his ass down the ice and set Pitkanen up for a SC. Epic.

    - 16 and 27′s best games as Oilers.

    - I was happy to see Gagner shoot… but he has to hit the bloody net.

  32. PDO says:

    - 16′s best game this season, sorry… though it may be his best ever as an Oiler, tough to say. He was VERY good tonight and created a lot, for the first time in a long time. It was nice to see.

  33. PDO says:

    Good to see Sheldon Souray is making sure he hits his 25 game injury quota.

  34. Bruce says:


    You should be a headline writer.
    “Penner rounds into form” ?

    By a very odd set of circumstances I attended the game for the last 14:35 of regulation plus the OT and shootout. (I got freebies at the 14th hour.) On the drive to the game I listened to the second intermission, in which upcoming shootout hero Marty Turco was being interviewed on the subject of shootouts, and he spoke glowingly of his fellow upcoming shootout hero Sergei Zubov. Said Turco: “Sergei’s got six different moves, and I can stop one of them occasionally. So usually in practice he uses one of the other five.”

    A few random observations from 19:35 in the building:

    I remember the day when the folks in the blues were knowledgeable hockey fans, a little rough-and-tumble maybe but they knew their puck. Now the ones you can hear — all too often — are full of such kernels of wisdom as “Turco you suck!” and “Turco you sieve!” Apparently Oiler fans as a collective still haven’t learned that the more you razz a Dallas goalie, the better he plays. Shut the fuck up, already.

    Mick McGeough calls Dustin Penner for holding. I say to my son, “that’s a new one, two minutes for overpowering your opponent”. And he says, “no, it’s two for being bigger than your opponent”. Then he decides, “it’s two for the opponent being a complete pussy”. That’s a bit rude, but it’s a hell of a lot funnier than “Turco sucks”. It’s fun to be at a hockey game with my kid. The crowd boos Mr. McGeough and I join the chorus.

    Fernando Pisani makes a fantastic play killing the penalty, a great rush and move around Zubov, only to be robbed on the doorstep by Turco. Pisani, seeing Reasoner has taken himself out of position by joining the rush, pulls himself back to his feet in the crease and hauls his ass back to the defensive zone to render the return rush a harmless 3-on-3. This is the sort of thing you will never, ever find on a stats page, Fernando didn’t even avoid a (personal) -1. But it’s a team game, and Fernando Pisani puts the team first, last, and always. I love Fernando Pisani.

    After the PK, Pisani’s linemates, Gagner and Nilsson — both of whom have blossomed with 34 riding shotgun — get stuck out on an excruciating shift with Brodziak. Gilbert and Smid can’t do enough to relieve the pressure either. Four rookies, one sophomore, and a tonne o’ pressure for what seems like geologic time.

    Oilers get a PP, and play it like they’re happy with the 1-1 scoreline. No urgency whatever. At the end Gagner makes a rookie mistake, making a blind centring pass to a Stars defender at the very moment Roloson is slapping the ice warning the team of the expiration of the penalty. Fortunately, the Stars defender who has been given the puck is not Zubov, and the potential breakaway never materializes.

    Funny, cuz every other time a Stars defenceman has the puck, it is Zubov, the all-knowing, all-seeing master of his craft and one of my favourite players ever. He distributes the puck as effortlessly as Doug Harvey, slide it to this open man, slide it to that open man, carry it ten feet and slide it the other open man, or bang! and away goes the play a hundred feet away at a hundred miles an hour.

    By unfortunate contrast Sheldon Souray lollygags around in his own zone, nearest guy to the puck but not really in possession of it. Sure enough, a Star comes along and takes it off him five feet inside Oilers’ blueline. Nailbiting ensues.

    Finally, finally, after minutes that seem months of Hang On Harvey hockey, the siren goes and the Oilers have reached overtime for the fifth consecutive game. Their one point is in the bank and now they can play with house money. Again. MacT has this bullshit system all figured out.

    OT is back and forth, with Oilers doing a lot of cycling in their own end, sometimes without the puck. They look nervous.

    The Macedonian gets called for a hook away from the puck carrier. Highly dubious, esp. to Oiler fans who have lost about a hundred one-goal games to friggin’ Dallas. The Stars, who beat us on an OT PP just last week, are presented with an OT PP. They keep the puck in Oilers end for about 75 seconds, but Roli has the answers. For now.

    Turco is still set on shutting up the fans in the blues, and sets up shop in the shootout with an odd sideways stance from which he springs just as the shooter hits the blueline. He’s got the mindset, he’s won lots of these showdowns the past 2.4 seasons, and he’ll win this one too.

    With Turco’s words from the prescient intermission interview ringing in my ears, Zubov — this guy’s a defenceman? — shows the wannabe shootout kings how it’s done, with an unstoppable move and shot. All I can do is shake my head in much the manner that I did last week when Dom Hasek schooled young Samwise on the art of being in the right place at the right instant. I mean I like the Oilers, but sometimes you just gotta like the NHL.

  35. pboy says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. What were the odds of Modano and Zubov beating us last night? 1-5, 1-10????? It’s like that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day with those two guys. The seasons keep rolling up but they keep killing the Oil.

    Zubov being traded by Pittsburgh for Kevin freaking Hatcher must be the most underappreciated trade of the 90′s.

  36. Bruce says:

    Zubov being traded by Pittsburgh for Kevin freaking Hatcher must be the most underappreciated trade of the 90′s.

    Especially in Pittsburgh, where they don’t appreciate it at all.

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